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The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project

Oral history interview with Emma Dale Newell Love, 1999

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Object ID: WV0090.5.001

Description:

Primarily documents Emma Newell Love’s service in France as a member of the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) from 1944 to 1946.

Summary:

Love discusses her reasons for choosing to join the WAC; her parents’ reactions; basic and overseas training; boredom on the troop ship; getting her hair done in England during a bombing; buzz bombs; crossing the English Channel; and Liberty ships. Topic related to her service in France include the liberation of France; hearing the Battle of the Bulge from her tent in Verdun; living conditions in France; Colonel C.R. Landon, her commanding officer; social life, including going to dances and restaurants; respect she felt from male co-workers; taking a ride on Adolf Hitler’s yacht; C-rations; being sick in Verdun and spending time in the forward field hospital; pup tents; visiting wounded GIs in field hospitals; her constant fear while overseas; and mess hall food. Other war-related subject include the day of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s death; her opinion of Eleanor Roosevelt; and having her photo taken with General George Patton.

Personal topics include growing up with and later marrying James Cleveland Love, and her daughter, Dale. Interview also includes many details of J. Cleveland Love's experiences in Europe and Japan during World War II.

Creator: Emma Dale Newell Love

Biographical Info: Emma Newell Love of Charlotte, North Carolina, served overseas in the Women’s Army Corps from 1944 until 1946.

Collection: Emma Dale Newell Love Papers

Rights: It is responsibility of the user to follow the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). Materials are not to be reproduced in published works without written consent, and any use should credit Jackson Library, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Full Text:

ERIC ELLIOTT:

Today is May—no, it's no longer May. I'm moving on to June the 4th now, 1999. My name is Eric Elliott, and I'm with the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Today I'm at the home of Emma Dale Love and her husband Cleve [James Cleveland Love] in Charlotte, North Carolina. I want to thank you both for letting us come here and do this interview. This is for the Women Veterans Historical Project at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Ms. Love, I going to ask about thirty questions or so that we try to ask everybody, and hopefully the first one isn't the toughest. The first one is, where were you born and where did you grow up?

EMMA LOVE:

Born right here in Charlotte and grew up here, too.

EE:

Did you have any brothers and sisters?

EL:

I have two sisters.

EE:

Are you the youngest, oldest, or in the middle?

EL:

Oldest.

EE:

What about your folks? What did they do?

EL:

Well, my father worked for Esso. You're familiar with that.

EE:

Yes.

EL:

And my mother was a homemaker.

EE:

What did your dad do for Esso?

EL:

He was an accountant.

EE:

Yes, that's how John D. [Rockefeller] got his money. [chuckles]

EL:

Yes. [chuckles]

EE:

Lots of accountants. He knew where to spend it. Where did you go to high school?

EL:

Central. That's no longer here. It's now a community college.

EE:

Were you somebody who liked school, growing up?

EL:

Well, I used to skip school a lot, but I think it was because I was bored. [chuckles] But you don't have to put that.

EE:

My dad flunked the third grade, and his excuse was that he was playing hooky with his older sister, who was five years older. So he said, “I didn't learn phonics, that's why I can't spell.” But I give him credit for that. You were here in Charlotte. You graduated in what year?

EL:

1941, I think it was. And then I went to Queens College for one year.

EE:

'41. Had North Carolina switched to a twelve-year high school by then?

EL:

It was a twelve-year, yes.

EE:

Teenagers are teenagers, no matter what the calendar says. Most teenagers don't really care about what's going on in the world. They like having fun. They like being young. But you become a teenager and graduate from high school at a time when a lot of bad things are going on in the world. How much aware are you of what's going on in the world?

EL:

I was pretty much aware, because after I got out of one year of Queens College I just about killed my mother because I said I was going to join the WACs [Women's Army Corps]. They tell me after I got over there that she cried for six months. But after a while she got over it. She was afraid I was going to get killed, I guess.

EE:

I guess when you first started at Queens—you started up there in '41. Is that where you were when Pearl Harbor happened?

EL:

Let's see. Pearl Harbor was what month?

CLEVE LOVE:

December the 7th of '41.

EL:

Well then, I guess I was.

EE:

Do you have any memory of where you were? Were you home with your folks? I guess you stayed home and just commuted to Queens?

EL:

Yes, because we lived near Queens.

CL:

You worked for the Observer.

EL:

Yes, I worked for the Charlotte Observer, and that's why everything in here has got pictures of me, because they—

EE:

They all knew you.

EL:

Yes.

EE:

So you were at Queens for a year. Did you get a degree at Queens? Did you have anything you particularly were studying to do?

EL:

It was secretarial.

EE:

So you got a job right out of Queens working for the Observer, which is the paper here in town?

EL:

Yes.

EE:

You were doing secretarial work there, or what kind of work were you doing?

EL:

I worked for the circulation department.

EE:

Is that the job you had up to the time that you joined the WACs?

EL:

Yes.

EE:

I think you told me before we started; you joined in the start of '44. So that meant you had that job for a little over two years.

EL:

Well, I think I worked part time anyway, somewhere.

EE:

Well, of all the things—and of course the very idea of having a woman join the service, you said—I believe there were some minimum age requirements, weren't there? Did you have to have your parents' signature before you could join the service?

EL:

No, because of I think the age was twenty, wasn't it?

CL:

Probably. I don't know.

EE:

I know for the WAVES [Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service—Navy] it was twenty-one. For the Red Cross it was twenty-five, and they lowered it to twenty-three. The WACs, you might be right, it might be twenty.

EL:

I think so.

EE:

So once you turned twenty that was when you got thinking about it?

EL:

Yes. And let's see—what did I have on the tip of my tongue?

EE:

Do you remember why it was that you thought about the WACs as opposed to the WAVES or the SPARS [Coast Guard Women's Reserve, from “Semper Paratus-Always Ready”] or any other branch of service?

EL:

Yes, because my father was in the First World War. He was in Verdun [France]. So I wanted to be with the ground forces. The air force tried to get me to change my mind, but I couldn't do it.

EE:

And there was a number of women that ended up worked for the Army Air Force in various ways. When you said you wanted to join the WACs, your mom obviously was upset about it. Your dad was supportive?

EL:

He didn't have much to say. I guess he didn't want to discourage me. But it was strange that I ended up in a place where he had been, in Verdun.

EE:

Did you come into the service asking for a specific kind of assignment? Did you ask to go overseas? Do you remember that?

EL:

No, they asked me so I thought that's where I ought to go. But I enlisted with a young woman who—they didn't want her or she didn't want to go, I don't know which.

EE:

I think you have to take a series of tests. I guess when you went down. Did they have a recruiting office here in Charlotte you went down to?

EL:

No.

EE:

Where did you go to sign up for the WACs, do you remember?

EL:

At Morris Field [in Charlotte]. Have you ever heard of Morris Field?

EE:

Yes.

EL:

We had to go there for the physical and all. Let's see. I didn't weigh enough. So when I passed they said, “If you can weigh enough pounds, we can get you in. Otherwise we'll have to get a waiver from Atlanta.” So one morning they came and got me about five o'clock, took me to the drugstore uptown and fed me full of milk shakes and bananas.

EE:

You sat at the soda fountain all day. [chuckles]

EL:

That didn't work either, so they had to get the waiver after all.

EE:

How long did that take? I guess it took about a month or so to get you processed, get you ready to go?

EL:

I don't remember.

EE:

So you were going to join with a buddy. She didn't get in.

EL:

She got in, but she didn't want to stay without me because she didn't know anybody else. And she was married, too, and her husband was over there. He wrote me a letter and said I had no business being in a combat zone. [chuckles]

EE:

I think you had mentioned before we started this tape that you two knew one another. Did you know each other romantically before you decided to join the WACs? Because Cleve got the draft notice in '42. Had y'all been on a friendly basis as early as '42?

EL:

Yes. Well, we practically grew up together. His father had a little cabin on the river and we had one, too. He didn't get to come up much because his daddy worked him to death. But we just practically grew up together.

EE:

Did he know you were thinking about joining the WACs?

EL:

No, he didn't know.

CL:

I was traveling and I was already in the service at that time. I didn't know she was in the WACs, I think, until I came home one time. I got a leave three times from Texas, California, Kansas, Virginia.

EE:

That's a long way to come home. Where did you take your basic?

EL:

Fort Oglethorpe, [Georgia].

EE:

Did you take a train or bus? It's near Chattanooga, I know. How'd you get over there? Take the train?

EL:

I believe we did.

EE:

Was that your first big time away from home?

EL:

Well, I never did mind being away from home. You know, some people just want to stay there all the time. But, no, I don't think I ever got homesick.

EE:

What was basic training like for you? You trained secretarial skills; you'd been working in an office. I imagine that's a fair amount of physical activity all of a sudden for you.

EL:

Well, I was always active. That didn't bother me.

EE:

So you didn't mind drilling?

EL:

No.

EE:

Did you know how to march before you went out there?

EL:

No, but we learned. We were in parades, too, you know. That was the hardest part, keeping everybody in line.

EE:

What was a typical day like for you out there? Were your instructors men or women?

EL:

I think—you know, I don't remember. I was thinking so much about what I was supposed to be doing I didn't even notice who was there.

EE:

Was it six weeks, eight weeks? How long were you in basic out there?

EL:

I think it was a month of basic and then you had to take two overseas, learn how to get off one of those ladders from the ship, you know.

EE:

So they were training you for a landing with an LST [landing ship tank] or something?

EL:

And that's what I had to do.

EE:

What was your next assignment after basic? Could you go right to overseas work?

EL:

Yes. We left—

CL:

You were in the Signal Corps.

EL:

No, no, I wasn't. You went around, you know. Because they knew that the Signal Corps was going to be on the front line, so they put the WACs in the rear.

What were we talking about?

EE:

Where was your first place that you lived after you left Oglethorpe? Did they send you immediately to England or where did you go?

EL:

We landed in Scotland to the news of D-Day.

EE:

So you had all your basic plus your training for overseas there at Oglethorpe, but then they sent you through New York to Scotland. I guess you just went on a ship.

EL:

Queen Mary or Queen Elizabeth. I don't remember.

EE:

Were you in a convoy?

EL:

Yes, it was a convoy. But, you know, they didn't put you too close together. All the lights were out at night, you know, and there wasn't much to do. I used to get out and run up and down the halls.

EE:

Just bored silly?

EL:

One girl, once her feet hit the gangplank—she got into the ship—she stayed there the whole five days, had seasickness. Isn't that awful?

EE:

I can imagine. North Atlantic crossings weren't very good.

EL:

But it was in May, see, that we left. Coming back, it was rough. That was in October, I think.

EE:

You landed in Scotland. Did you immediately get sent down to the London area? Where you were?

EL:

You know, they process you and then they sent us to London.

EE:

What kind of work were you going to be doing? Was it teletype? Was it secretarial? What was your assignment?

EL:

Secretarial, shorthand and typing and all.

EE:

Had you already taken some tests earlier to confirm that in fact that was your specialty and that's where you would be best used?

EL:

I don't remember them giving me any test. Well, I guess they figured I'd went through high school.

EE:

Just from your job experience and what you'd been doing already.

EL:

Yes.

EE:

How long were you in England?

EL:

Six weeks. That was during the time of the buzz bombs.

EE:

You told me there's some practical problems with that. You're there as a government employee. You also have a personal life to take care of. Occasionally you have to do your hair. Tell me about what happened with that. You said you couldn't find a place to get a permanent?

EL:

That's right. I'd asked one of the English women whose place we would be taking, and she gave me the name of this person, and she did a good job. But when that bomb came over she said, “Well, you're just probably going to just die right here because nobody's going to try to take these things off of you.” [chuckles]

EE:

These things. You hooked up to a machine to get a permanent. It's not a cold wave.

EL:

Little tiny rollers all over your head.

EE:

You're sitting there, and were you afraid of these buzz bombs?

EL:

Oh, yes. They weren't funny at all. In fact, it was right funny that when we got there and they were going to put us where we were going to stay until they put us with who we were going to work with, they said, “Y'all are lucky. We haven't had an air raid since March.” And it was that very night the first buzz bomb came over. Talk about bad luck, I've had it.

EE:

So you didn't want anybody to tell you how good your luck was because you knew it was going to turn the next day. Where did you stay? Did you stay in a barracks or in a hotel or in apartments? Where were y'all housed when you were in London?

EL:

I think it was a barracks, but it didn't have too many people in one room.

EE:

Did it have its own bomb shelter in the basement area?

EL:

No, we just pulled the shades, you know, the blackout curtains, and watched and peeked out to see what was going on. But they told the commanders not to put everybody in one room. Well, that's where our commander put us every time.

EE:

That's to avoid having more casualties than you need to have. Somebody told me they would watch those things, and as long as you heard the motor, you were okay. It's when you didn't hear the motor that you decided to go for cover.

EL:

Well, I was taking dictation from a group of officers one day and I heard one coming. And every man turned and looked at me. I guess they thought I was going to jump up and run. But after it passed over, we went back to work.

EE:

So they were that loud that you could hear them inside there?

EL:

Oh, yes.

EE:

And after a while it was just—

EL:

Well, they'd fall somewhere, you know.

EE:

In that sense they weren't the most accurate, but they were supposed to just basically terrorize the folks and make them uncertain about what was going on.

EL:

I don't understand it because they had already bombed them, practically. There was hardly anything there.

EE:

So your offices were aboveground when you were in London, or were they underground?

EL:

Do you mean in a building?

EE:

Yes.

EL:

Oh, yes, we were in a building.

EE:

You were there about six weeks. Then you land on the beach?

EL:

Well, let's see. August the 29th, I remember. But we had to go across. I think we left from South Hampton on a Liberty ship, and they put us all in the hold after we got in the middle of the thing, because the subs were still out there, you know, but we didn't run into any. So we just sat there until it got daylight enough for them to go in. When you could see daylight, they pulled up the anchor and we went on.

We didn't get to use the rope because it was too stormy. They tried, I think, to put two boats in the water. And they said, “We aren't going to be able to do this. We've got to use the boom.” I got in. They always give you a vomit bag. [chuckles] We made it, but we were the only two boats that got off that morning. So we set up on the top of the hill where all the killing was, below Omaha Beach [Normandy, France].

EE:

Were you at Omaha Beach? Is that where you came in?

EL:

Yes. And so we had to wait there all day for the rest of them to get off. And the trucks came and took us I don't know where because it was dark by then.

EE:

Was that still a littered battlefield area?

EL:

Oh, yes. It was after Saint Lô [Battle of Normandy], and you could smell the dead. But then we stopped in—what's that one? It was just a little town. Oh, it was a beautiful town. We didn't get to stay there but about twelve days. It's been a long time. It wasn't Luxembourg. It's where the Hall of Mirrors is. Do you know where that is?

EE:

Versailles.

EL:

Yes.

EE:

So they took you from Omaha and they took you by truck, took you across, and that's where y'all were housed until you were assigned. This is when you were assigned to the twelfth [Army]?

EL:

Yes.

EE:

So you went over with the twelfth. When you got off that day at Omaha, how many women were there with you?

EL:

Well, the whole complement.

EE:

So they unloaded all the WACs at one time.

EL:

No, but there were men there, too. How many people does a Liberty ship hold?

CL:

Honey, it depends on the size, but sometimes double-loaded.

EL:

I think we must have been, because we had to sit up all night.

EE:

Couple hundred folks.

EL:

Yes.

CL:

Liberty [ship] in the [English] Channel would have been used. Like I was on the Brazil, and the Brazil was a three-stacker. USS Brazil. It was like the Queen Mary or the Queen Elizabeth, but the large ships had to go into Le Havre because of depth, water depth. I know when we arrived the night before I had a detail taking meal tickets. That was my job as a staff sergeant on board. The captain said, “Take your men down below and clean up the kitchen. We're going to leave ship in the morning.” Well, I went down there, we heard some depth charges going off around in the harbor. I told the fellows, I said, “Get this place cleaned up. One might come through the skin at any time. We're going topside.”

EE:

I'll bet they moved fast after that.

CL:

Yes, sir. But the Liberty ship was smaller and designed for that purpose. It was a rough-riding ship, too. We had double-loaded going back, three thousand men on board the Brazil going back. Just by chance, I got back on board the same ship after the war was over. See, we were fresh troops and shipped out back to the States to go to Japan. I imagine that there were five hundred or a thousand people on board the Liberty.

EE:

I don't know to what extent it was in the WAC recruiting, but I know a phrase that a lot of women responded to when they joined was “Free a man to fight.” I imagine the first time you got there at Omaha you might have understood what “freeing a man to fight” meant.

EL:

Yes, sure did.

EE:

Is that what you were doing in your work? Were you freeing up a soldier?

EL:

No, I was just doing my part.

EE:

That was, I guess, your first experience with the military.

EL:

Yes, except for Morris Field out here. A friend of his got in an automobile accident and we used to go visit him. That's all.

EE:

You were in Versailles for about twelve days.

[Discussion of trip to Versailles not transcribed.]

Is that the headquarters for the twelfth or is that a staging area to set you off? What were you doing at the twelfth?

EL:

I think they were deciding where we were going to go, because we didn't have anything to do work-wise.

EE:

By that late in August, had France already been liberated? Was Paris liberated?

EL:

No, but I got to see that because my travel took me in there the day before they let the French take it over.

EE:

Before DeGaulle comes into town?

EL:

Yes. I wish we'd had a camera for that.

EE:

So you were there overnight when the Brits come in, you were there in town?

EL:

No, let's see. We were still where we'd been.

EE:

Still in Versailles?

EL:

Yes, still there. So he just got a jeep and we went that way. He treated me like a daughter.

EE:

What was his name?

EL:

Colonel C.R. Landon.

EE:

Was he the fellow you worked with throughout the time when you were over there, or different folks?

EL:

Let's see, was that Landon? Yes, it had to be. But I thought that was real—in fact, he did me like that everywhere he went. They could fraternize and he had a nurse friend.

EE:

Was he already married?

EL:

Yes, he was married. But he wanted me to see things, and so he did.

EE:

You were pretty young during this. Were you one of the younger women over there?

EL:

Well, I don't know, because at the age level, you know—

CL:

You had to be about twenty-two or twenty-three.

EL:

Yes. But, let's see. Was that Landon? Yes, it was.

EE:

After you were at Versailles and you get a chance to see Paris—

EL:

Didn't get to see much of it, because we just didn't want to go too far.

EE:

I imagine still there was probably some concern about what's going on in Paris, but you're there. Then where do you go after Versailles? Is that when they moved the company to Verdun?

EL:

Yes, we went to Verdun.

EE:

And that becomes the headquarters for the twelfth Army group.

EL:

Yes.

EE:

So, the twelfth, where are they in action? Are they there in Luxembourg near where the Battle of the Bulge would eventually be? Where is that group of men?

EL:

Well, you know, that was a secret, that twelfth Army group.

CL:

Can I say something?

EL:

Yes.

CL:

When we found out we were assigned to the twelfth, we knew from one armored group or another they'd change the password for the front-line troops. And when they changed the password, we'd been either in another army or another group. I was in Fécamp, Camp Lucky Strike. While we were there, the engineers crossed the Rhine, and about a week later we went into action in Siegsburg, which was on the east side of the Rhine. A few days later, we went into Cologne and then moved up into Dusseldorf. Well, the twelfth group would have probably been in Versailles, still back, because until they crossed the Rhine, they were pretty stationary.

EE:

Was this at Arne? Where was this at? Where did they cross the Rhine?

CL:

Near Cologne. The engineers captured a German bridge before they blew it up into Cologne, and we went across that. The way I knew about it was the Stars and Stripes [U.S. Armed Forces overseas newspaper]. And you had to be back, since we were in a secret army, you had to be back behind—headquarters would have been back behind the front-line troops.

EE:

And you say you switched to join the twelfth later that fall—or actually it was after the Battle of the Bulge when you got assigned to the twelfth, wasn't it?

CL:

I don't know. When we got in there, they said we were a secret army group, and they didn't tell us what we were in, but one time the group, the First Army—I know the password would change. And they said, “You're now in the First Army.” And I couldn't tell you where the First Army headquarters was at that time. Of course, like I said, I knew where I was in Dusseldorf. I spent a day there.

EE:

Once you got to Verdun, is that where you stayed until the end of your time in Europe?

EL:

We were there a good while, but when the Battle of the Bulge came, my colonel came back from the war room and said, “We might have to retreat.” And I said, “Oh, no.” It was that bad, because we could hear every night the trucks coming in bringing new people in. And it snowed.

That's one reason all this stuff in here is from the Observer. They sent me the paper every month. I didn't have time to read it, but it saved my life during the Battle of the Bulge, because all we had was a tent—I mean a cot, two blankets and a—what are those things you put on your face? A gas mask. So we put the papers under the blanket to keep warm.

EE:

Where you were at Verdun before the Battle of the Bulge was in a building, probably a big home or someplace?

EL:

It was a deserted army barracks.

EE:

That was the Germans' or the French?

EL:

French, I think. This was France.

EE:

And but you had taken this over as headquarters? You were housed there on this base?

EL:

Yes.

EE:

And then in December with the Battle of the Bulge, you have to move from this location. Is that why you ended up being in cots?

EL:

Oh, no, we had cots. [Telephone interruption.]

EE:

We're talking about the fact that at this barracks there is no heat. Winter of '44 or '45 is about as cold as they'd had in Europe in a long time.

EL:

Yes. The snow was really deep.

EE:

So you don't have heat. You say these newspapers helped keep you warm.

EL:

Warm. You know, we could pile up about that many. And they sent enough that we had enough for the people in my barracks. There were just five of us in there.

EE:

What's it like going to work in a building that's that cold?

EL:

Well, it's no fun. But, anyway, we'd go down to mess hall and we'd take our helmets and they'd give us some hot water to bathe in.

EE:

In your helmet?

EL:

Yes, and enough that we had to mop your area, which, fortunately, wasn't any bigger than the cot. They always had you doing something.

EE:

That's right. They're going to distract you from worrying about things by giving you something to do.

EL:

Yes.

EE:

You said before we started that this is a time they gave you one of those booklets what to do in case you're captured.

EL:

I think I've got that.

EE:

Or you got that before you went over there?

EL:

I think so. I've still got it.

CL:

Automatic training.

EE:

Did you have any weapons training?

EL:

No. It was not like it is today. Most all of us had boyfriends, you know, they had rifles. We'd rather be with somebody that can carry a gun. [Telephone interruption.]

EE:

You were saying you think it was '40, not '41 that you graduated from high school and that would have meant that you were at the Observer Pearl Harbor Day. So what do you remember about that?

EL:

Well, it seems like it was on a Sunday so I wasn't at work. But I think that made me so mad to think they'd do that. Later on we took a trip and went over to Hawaii so we could see the—what do you call it? Where they died.

EE:

The [USS] Arizona memorial?

EL:

Yes, the Arizona.

EE:

Well, tell me this. When you're at Verdun, what's a typical day like for you? Of course, it's not going to be typical because everything is changing, but are you working a set shift? I guess it's seven days a week, you rotate, or what? Do you have a set shift?

EL:

Well, I just stayed in the colonel's office. He'd go to the war room and find out how things were going and come back and tell me. That's how I knew where he was. Of course, he trusted me. But I don't think they would have appreciated it if they knew he was doing that—the ones that can get to the war room records, majors and up, field officers.

CL:

It was top secret staff, so to speak.

EE:

I imagine at this point once you're at Verdun you don't really have a chance to be a tourist. You're working the whole time.

EL:

No, we managed to find places to go. The soldiers would tell us, “Go this place and that place.” And one time they found the best restaurant. It was just a little hole in the wall, but they had calf liver, and that's one of my favorite things to eat. I wish I had that recipe to this day. [chuckles]

EE:

I hated to hear they were closing Morrison's, because that's what I used to go over to Morrison's to get, was liver and onions. [chuckles] What was the colonel's name you were working with at Verdun?

EL:

Colonel Landon.

EE:

So he's the same one from Versailles you were working with.

EL:

Yes.

EE:

And how long were you there? Were you there when they called on you? It must have been March of '45 when they wanted you to come—or had this picture made. Tell me about this picture. This is different. Is this the same time that you were getting your picture made with [George] Patton?

EL:

No. What did we put that on there for, Cleve?

CL:

I don't know, honey. It says Luxembourg here on this one.

EL:

Yes, that's when we went up to visit him and got to see the armored group.

EE:

This says March 29th of '45, which meant that the—

EL:

That might have been the date of the paper.

EE:

You were attached to the Signal Corps of the First Army as a secretary, is that right?

EL:

Yes. That's how I started out. That's when we were in London.

EE:

Was this taken when you were in London?

EL:

No, that's Verdun.

EE:

Then the information at the top is wrong; because by the time this picture is taken you're with the twelfth.

EL:

Yes, I think that date up there was when it was in the paper.

CL:

Honey, can I help?

EL:

Yes.

CL:

The only time I knew the date on the front lines was daylight and dark. The day was April the 12th when [Franklin D.] Roosevelt died—

EL:

Oh, yes, that was awful.

CL:

I was in a small town in Germany. The night before, we'd been in an air raid shelter. The 13th Armored Division strafed our company. The Captain and I saw them and we went over and I was ready to dig a hole. We were waving our arms to attract their attention, “stop shooting.” They were shooting over us, our own tank destroyer division shooting over us. We had moved up in the woods during the night.

EE:

They didn't realize you had moved up.

CL:

About eleven or twelve o'clock, I heard on of the radios in the tank group talking that Roosevelt had died. That was the 12th of April. Where were you the 12th of April?

EL:

In Verdun.

EE:

How did you hear about it? Was it through the colonel or how did it happen?

EL:

I think it was. I said, “Does that mean we're going to lose the war?” Because I thought the world of Roosevelt. He says, “Well, I don't know. We might have to move back.” But anyway, we didn't have to because that snow stopped and the airplanes could get back up there.

EE:

But it was only, I guess, about six weeks before VE [Victory in Europe] Day, the end of May. That's true. You mentioned a very real thing. When you're in the field, you're not keeping track of what day of the month it is. The day of the month that matters is the day I got here and the day I got home. [chuckles] You're not looking at the calendar; you just want to get over with it.

EL:

Didn't even have one.

EE:

You talk about the folks would recommend places for you to go, things to do. You're closer to the front that almost anybody that I've talked with. So, I wonder, do you do things like I've heard some of the other folks talk about? They said since there were so few women, whenever six or more gathered together, they'd call a dance whenever they can. [chuckles]

EL:

Well, yes, we used to do that. Just some silly dance, I can't remember the name of it now.

EE:

“Mares eat oats and does eat oats.“ [chuckles]

EL:

That's it. [chuckles]

EE:

We were still doing that dance when I was in elementary school. And they were still playing that down in Rockingham [North Carolina].

EL:

And I heard it on television the other day. Somebody played it.

EE:

But do you think that the men who you worked with treated you professionally? I would imagine in that close and that intense a situation, everybody was appreciated and valued. There wasn't anybody who was giving you grief because you were a woman working around that. You were somebody that was needed.

EL:

Yes, and, you know, our typewriters were—

CL:

Old Underwoods.

EL:

Yes, Underwoods, and I said they could come and take it away right quick. And so we always had guys around to do things like that.

EE:

I'm going to ask you a question which may be impolitic, because the WACs especially suffered a lot early on in that some folks in the army weren't actually charitable toward them. They would spread rumors about the kind of women who would become WACs.

EL:

Yes, my mother said that. I said, “Mother, there are that kind of women all over the place, but that doesn't mean I'm going to be one.“ But even the men, they thought that we were being sent over there to service them, I guess.

EE:

Is that something you had to confront and face down, or would the folks give you—

EL:

Oh, I had one fellow that tried to get smart. In fact, I got a picture of him. I don't know what I'm doing with it. But we were on Hitler's yacht after the war was over. They took us up the Rhine on his yacht. And they did a lot for us to make up for all we had to go through.

EE:

That's great. You're at Verdun on VE Day?

EL:

Verdun on VE Day?

EE:

That's where you were when you heard about Roosevelt. Were you still there when the war in Europe ended?

CL:

[Winston] Churchill's speech that Germany had surrendered.

EL:

No, we'd moved to Wiesbaden.

EE:

So that's where you heard the news that the war was over.

EL:

I think so, because everybody went out and partied.

CL:

The reason I said that, I liberated a radio and had cut an autobahn [German freeway] between Dresden, Germany, and Pilsen, Czechoslovakia. My orders were to cut an autobahn and set up machine-gun post and troops. I pulled back down the hill and my boys in the squad—I took care of my men, they took care of me. We slept in a house every night. We liberated a house. Woman said, “I'll do anything if you don't make me move out of my house.“

I said, “Lady, get out of here. Your husband and your friends are shooting at us. Get out of here. We won't tear up your house.“ I liberated the radio at two o'clock in the morning and heard Churchill's speech that Germany had surrendered. I took my helmet off, laid my rifle down for about the first time in about forty-some days. And that's the reason I knew where I was, and then less than a week later, I got the note from her. I don't know how the mail came to me unless she mailed it, but I didn't get mail over there. But she knew where I was, and that's when the captain wouldn't let me see her. But that was orders.

EL:

I've got a picture of being on that yacht somewhere.

EE:

How close were you to the Russians?

[Begin Tape 1, Side 2]

EE:

—in the process of going to Pilsen, you freed up some Germans who were already in the camps.

CL:

Yes. We freed some concentration—I remember one paratrooper, big boy. When I say big boy, he was your size, by comparison. He was standing outside, and he had lost so much weight from starvation that his uniform was hanging off just draped on him. And some of the guys went on and was pitching money in his helmet, and he was thanking them, holding up onto a post from starvation. You talk about some mad GIs, we were mad GIs. We went looking for them, you know, handling our boys like that.

EL:

I'm going to see if I can find that picture of Hitler's yacht.

EE:

For you all, both of you, '44, '45, you've got a lifetime of memories burned into your head.

CL:

That's right. She's a strong-minded woman. Her mother, when she was talking about what you were saying, the WACs were targets, so to speak. That's a strong-minded girl. Like I said, [unclear]. I've got a picture that I wouldn't take the world for if I can find it. It was taken on the front lines by the Stars and Stripes and I was in the picture looking for a sniper in Siegburg, Germany. The squad ahead of us—we'd lost three men, and the squad leader came by. The boy's name was Kettleberg from Pennsylvania. He had captured some Germans and they had got three or four. And I said, “Do you want some help taking those fellows back to the P.W. cage [prisoner of war lockup]?“

He said, “No, this is my meat,“ is what he said.

About thirty minutes later, I heard shots way down the road. He came back alone. I said, “What happened?“ I knew he hadn't had time to take them back to the P.W. cage.

He said, “Oh, they tried to run.“ Personally, I believe that he was mad because some of his boys had been shot at by them, and I think he killed them. I don't know, but I just feel like that.

EE:

It really is something that you don't know what you're going to do until you're there.

CL:

That's right.

EE:

I had an uncle that was in D-Day on the landing force. He didn't mention one thing about whatever happened to him in the service, except to say that he wouldn't have made it through had not [famed comedian] Buddy Hackett been in his company telling jokes all the way across Europe. Like you said, there wasn't a lot to laugh about, except for Buddy Hackett.

CL:

Well, it was an experience, as I said.

EL:

That's a picture of Hitler's yacht. You can't see too much of it. But they treated us to a lot of good things there at the end.

CL:

Can I go find my one picture?

EE:

That's great. July 31st. That's great. Well, let me get you there, because you've got some photos which I'm going to want to make some copies of. I'd love to have some because you've had some experiences. Like I say, most of the women that I've interviewed have not had the chance to be as close to things as you were.

You were in Wiesbaden when you heard about the end of the war. You were with the twelfth. Things change. I guess the war ends. I guess Wiesbaden is in the American sector, isn't it? They split up Germany into three areas. You're allowed to travel a little bit, maybe the schedule changes. Tell me what's happens, what's different after May 28th.

EL:

Well, let's see. I got my first leave, and you could go to the airport, where they kept the planes, and we flew to London. I've got a bill in there where my friend and I were holed up at a hotel for four days just to rest and read. All we did was read and eat. [chuckles]

EE:

So you have no complaints about English food? It was good food when you were there?

EL:

Yes. Better than mess hall food.

EE:

Were you on C-rations or something the whole time you were over there, just about?

EL:

We had some of it, C-rations.

EL:

That's what you were on.

CL:

That's right. I lost my C-rations. Jumped off at Siegsburg and in assault boats got across the river. The river was about as wide as from here to the center of the street, swift in wintertime, of course. And one of boys, Jack Mount was a banker in California, one of my boys, said, “Sergeant, they're shooting at us with a machine gun.“ And I was aiming for the target, paddling, you see. He said, “What do we do?“

I said, “Get out of the damn boat.“ We all jumped over the sides in the water up here, and I had bazooka rounds wired to me, extra ammunition for boys and ammunition belt. I was wading.

I got about to the bank and I holding the bank and they got ashore and pushed the boat off. When they pushed off, I turned loose of the boat and I went under. One of the boys saw my arm and pulled me out, and I had to lie down on the ground waiting for the water to run out of my clothes before I could run. C-rations—I couldn't run fast enough and I threw my pack away. I threw my rations away and my razors. I was the ugliest man alive from that point on.

EE:

But you were alive, that was the main thing.

CL:

I've got to brag on this one, but this was a friend of mine. That's me, the small guy. And there's the lieutenant.

EE:

This is where the sniper's looking for you?

CL:

Honey, that's the picture.

EL:

What's that say on the back?

CL:

It says First Army Group. We were in the First Army at that time. I didn't know that. But the Stars and Stripes people took our pictures and sent those back to us a day or two later.

EE:

They were good about that. Apparently they were anxious to follow your group around, too. That's an AP [Associated Press] photographer that just followed you on Hitler's yacht.

EL:

Yes. I guess they were trying to make up for what we'd done and had to do without.

CL:

This street was like—I forget. What did I tell you? It was Trade Street in Charlotte here where the road forks. Down this street there was a building, and it was a command post, and they were shooting down this street. We were going down, one squad on one side. We were trained to do this—one squad over here shooting through there. The boys over there were crossing us over here. And that's what we were looking for when we went around the corner here, but there was a sniper shooting at us up here. I don't know. I put a bullet through a window. I never heard from him anymore, but I know that I might have scared him away or something. As I said, I wouldn't take anything for that one.

EE:

Were you there in Wiesbaden then until you were discharged?

EL:

No, they put us in the Fifteenth Army, which was going to tell the history of the—

CL:

Occupation.

EL:

Yes. So that was Camp Lucky Strike, was it?

CL:

Camp Lucky Strike was the one near Fécamp.

EE:

What part of Germany is that in?

EL:

Gee, I don't know.

CL:

Fécamp, Camp Lucky Strike, coming back was in France, forty kilometers from Fécamp. Fécamp was near Le Havre, off the channel.

EE:

So you were only in Wiesbaden for a short time and then came back to Camp Lucky Strike.

EL:

I don't remember how long.

CL:

Wiesbaden was East Germany, honey, that's right.

EL:

I remember we were still there when the war was over, because everybody went out and celebrated.

EE:

You were there on VJ [Victory in Japan] Day.

CL:

VE.

EE:

In Wiesbaden on VE Day.

EL:

Yes.

EE:

And then you were still in Europe on VJ Day while he was being shipped over to get ready to invade?

EL:

When was VJ Day?

EE:

That was in August.

EL:

Yes.

CL:

Yes, VJ was—we were three days out to sea, it was September the 14th, I think. We came back to the States, got a leave, went back to Fort Bragg. We left Fort Bragg wearing suntans. We went to Fort Lewis, Washington. It was cold out there. We had a fire in the barracks, put on wool clothes, shipped out. We were there a week or so and then shipped out from Seattle. Three days out to sea, Japan surrendered, and I think that it was the 14th of August. The reason we knew they had surrendered, they said, “The smoking lamp is lit.“ You can smoke at night on the ship.

EE:

There wasn't lights out anymore. That was a good sign.

CL:

That's right, that's right.

EE:

So you're there at Camp Lucky Strike until the end of the time, until you're discharged.

EL:

No, I was discharged at Fort Bragg.

EE:

So you came back stateside.

EL:

Yes.

EE:

And I guess you had signed on originally for the duration, and that meant the time was to come back, or did you get—

EL:

Yes.

EE:

I guess they were letting everybody go in your unit.

EL:

Yes, if you wanted to.

EE:

Did you think about making the military a career?

EL:

No.

EE:

“That was enough, thank you. I've had my year of excitement.“ What was the hardest thing you had to do in service, either physically or emotionally?

EL:

I had to sweat out an illness. You know, usually if you got sick they shipped you back to Paris or somewhere, but we had come to Verdun, I think it was. Yes, by truck and we had to strike a big tent. So we got loaded and when we got to Verdun and had showers. We all had to go out and take a shower. One of the girls looked at me and said, “You didn't wash your eyes.“

I said, “What do you mean, I didn't wash my eyes? I sure did.“

She said, “Well, doesn't look like you did.“

Well, a couple days later, I got sick, had a temperature of I don't know how much, but they sent me to the—first time I'd ever been in. What do they call the—

CL:

First aid, forward. It was a forward field hospital.

EL:

She told the doctor, she said, “We're not going to send her back to Paris because she'll never be back.“ So she got one of the cadres to give up her cot and she took care of me until I got better.

EE:

Did you ever find out what was wrong?

EL:

They called it “Virus X.“ I don't know what they call it now.

EE:

If that's all they called it I'd be worried, because that means they don't really know what it is.

EL:

Yes. He said I couldn't go back to work until my temperature was normal. So when they got down to one, I said, “Well, it won't be long now.“ That colonel took care of that. I'd hate to have had to go back to Paris.

EE:

On the other side, do you remember an embarrassing moment or a lighthearted moment that either happened to you or somebody you were with?

EL:

Well, we had a good time. They must have had some guys that worked on Broadway or something. So they said we were going to have a show. So they put it together. And I think there are some pictures in here of that. Yes, there's one picture where I had on my costume.

EE:

They did make quite a few photos of you.

EL:

Well, they did.

EE:

All things considered, your pictures get in the paper quite a lot.

CL:

The fact that she worked for the Charlotte news had a lot to do with that.

EE:

Didn't hurt at all.

EL:

Nobody knew I worked for them. But, the Signal Corps had to have pictures.

EE:

For their Stars and Stripes articles.

EL:

Yes, that's right.

EE:

And somebody would see that and they'd pick up and run this picture because they knew you worked for the Observer. But they were just taking pictures of it. That's great.

CL:

Well, I can tell you one reason why they took a lot of pictures of her, the fact that she's an attractive young lady.

EE:

Yes, when times are tough it's nice to have something pleasant to look at.

CL:

That's right.

EE:

Now, you're reading here—

CL:

That's a pup tent.

EE:

Did you actually live in a pup tent?

EL:

No. Sometimes when we were traveling we had to sleep there.

CL:

Well, that might have been a little larger than a pup tent. You know, in the infantry we had a shelter half, your half and my half. If your partner got killed you slept on the ground. [chuckles]

EL:

I didn't miss much. [chuckles]

EE:

Aside from the buzz bombs, did you ever feel in physical danger?

EL:

Well, I did when we were waiting in that place to go ashore, because I knew that submarines had been out there because they'd hit somebody before. But I said, “Well, just don't think about it.“ So that's about the worst thing.

EE:

I imagine that's something both of you had to do—just not think about it, just go ahead.

EL:

Yes.

CL:

Well, on the front you were scared stiff half the time. That's all you thought about, looking for the Jerries was what it was, so to speak. And right here, we were looking for them, see, and it was a constant fear.

EL:

I even got some letters from guys in the audience. One fellow says, “I'm going to come to every play you've got.“

EE:

This photo says the Signal Corps sent out this picture as typifying the spirit and courage of American women in the armed forces. Did you get nominated for that, or is that just something they just had been impressed with you? How did you find out about this Bronze Star award which it looks like you were given when they were disbanding the twelfth Army?

EL:

I don't know how I got that. I found that when I was going through book. I've got the Bronze Star, though.

CL:

But the colonel that wrote it says, “The personal secretary to the general twelfth Army Group, technician third grade, performed all duties assigned in an outstanding manner. Her professional efficiency as a stenographer, combined with her judgment and tact, enabled her to accomplish innumerable administrative duties.“

EL:

But, when we were in London, I was working for the Signal Corps, and my boss, the captain—and he was a world-famous typist. I mean, he could type faster than anybody in the United States. And I thought, oh, gosh, he's checking everything I do. But he was nice, too. They were all nice, except one or two.

EE:

Is there a song or songs or movies that when you see or hear, take y'all back to that time?

EL:

Well, just about any war story because I'd never been anywhere until then, so that was an experience. I'm trying to find some of my love letters I got. [chuckles]

EE:

You said that, for you, you really felt it when President Roosevelt died. What did you think of Mrs. [Eleanor] Roosevelt?

EL:

Well, not much. I knew she was smart. But you know, being Southern, her acquaintances—but, you know, she was bright.

EE:

But at the time, she wasn't one of your top favorite people then?

EL:

No, no. But anyway—

EE:

Do you have some heroes or heroines from that time period?

EL:

Well, Colonel Landon, because he even flew me to Berlin when he went with his lady friend and put us in the jeep. I think they took two jeeps on that plane. And we went to the Hindenburg—what was that?

EE:

Brandenburg Gate?

EL:

Yes.

EE:

That was right next to where the Russians had taken down the top of the Reichstag?

EL:

We couldn't stay long, you know, because it was daylight. But just being able to say we were there was something. There's Versailles.

EE:

Oh, yes. Except this picture doesn't have all the tourists that are there now. [chuckles]

EL:

But we met a guy in the French resistance, and he's the one that took us to the Hall of Mirrors.

EE:

Do you think your military experience made you more of an independent person than you would have been otherwise?

EL:

I think I've always been pretty independent.

EE:

What's been the biggest impact of your military time on your life, do you think?

EL:

Well, it was exciting in a funny way. But I can't complain.

EE:

So it's one of those questions that you can't do it over again, but if you could do it over again, you would?

EL:

In fact, they used to ask us to go to the field hospitals to visit the GIs who'd been wounded. So we used to do that, and that opens your eyes. There's one young fellow in there, had both legs blown off with a bomb. I think he'd been in a foxhole. But anyway, he was as happy as he could be because he knew he was going home.

EE:

He was alive and going home, that was the big thing.

EL:

Yes.

EE:

We just, I guess, in December, as a country, sent a woman into combat for the first time as a fighter pilot. What do you think about that? Do you think there are some jobs in the military that women shouldn't be doing?

EL:

Well, I don't think they ought to be on the front line. Men are men and they are stronger than we are. But I got close enough. [chuckles]

EE:

I don't think anybody could say it any better than that. That's certainly true, close enough. And you probably could vouch for that, too.

CL:

Well, it's like I said, I'm there and I got back, but I was frightened every day. I don't mind telling you, I woke up in the country—I came home on leave after I got back, and I woke up one morning on the farm while I was still in the military and I wasn't shaking. I realized that they weren't shooting at me.

EL:

And I used to wake up and hear an airplane and I would think it was an air raid. And then I'd wake up, and it was a good feeling that it wasn't what I thought it was.

EE:

Did they teach you how to identify which was an enemy plane, which was an Allied plane?

EL:

Well, by the time we got to France you didn't see much. When we went up to see Patton, we came back and there was this horrible sound and I said, “What is that?“ He says, “Oh, that's the railroad gun, they just do that. They don't go anywhere.“ But they sure did make a big bang.

CL:

That was the long guns. We walked under them one time. We were moving out, moving through. I don't really know where we were, but all of a sudden they started shooting over our heads. We looked, and when a shell hit an infantry terrain, you hit the dirt. You didn't look up; you just hit the ground and then you searched. And they were shooting over us. And we didn't realize it was our own guns firing at the Germans.

EE:

So this was Allies who were using the railroad gun. The Germans, I guess even back in World War I, they had Big Bertha [howitzer gun]. What was it, a couple years ago they found out Saddam Hussein had a contract with a guy to build a cannon into the side of a mountain. He was going to get the length of that so long that he could basically launch a missile with a cannon a hundred miles or so, six hundred miles over to Israel.

EL:

Well, we got some of what we called buzz bombs. They had a bigger one that they used over there after we left. One or two came over where we were.

EE:

Do y'all have any children?

EL:

I have one daughter, Dale.

EE:

Did she ever express any interest in joining the military?

EL:

No.

EE:

Would you have encouraged her to do that?

EL:

I would not have discouraged her.

EE:

That's a very diplomatic answer. As being a parent, it's probably best not to encourage.

CL:

Dale has a mind of her own, like her mama.

EE:

Yes.

EL:

She sure does.

EL:

She's a fire marshal in Charlotte now.

EE:

Great.

EL:

Every time they have fireworks uptown, she has to be there.

CL:

Now she's supervisor over several.

EE:

That's great. You came back in October. When did you get back stateside?

CL:

December—oh, wait a minute. February the 14th of '46, I think, honey.

EE:

You said that you went on and actually were in Japan as part of the occupation forces.

CL:

We occupied Honshu, walked across Honshu. They had the points system. My number came up, and I had been promoted to a platoon sergeant. The captain had recommended me to move up and I told them, I said, “Well, the war is over. All I want is to go home.“

EE:

Y'all came back, both of you came back to the Charlotte area?

EL:

Yes.

EE:

Did you go back to work at the Observer? What did you do when you came back from the war?

EL:

Actually, I did go back to work with them for a while.

EE:

Then you two decided to get better acquainted?

CL:

Yes, long time.

EE:

When did y'all get married?

EL:

Well, gosh, I was married to another fellow, what, thirteen—was it thirteen years? And that fell apart.

EE:

Was this somebody you had met in the service?

EL:

No, he was a German. They sent the Germans to Japan and places like that.

EE:

Right.

EL:

That's hard to believe, but they did it.

EE:

I've talked to somebody that was in the Philippines with an Italian P.O.W. [prisoner of war]

So y'all connected back together after that. This was in the fifties?

EL:

Yes.

CL:

We sort of grew up together, in a sense. Dad had bought interest in a place on Mountain Island Lake, and her father's brother had a place there. She played with my sister on the lake. I remember the long-legged little kids running, holding their nose, jumping in the river. But I was raised in Charlotte. Dad bought a farm in the country, and I lived up at Croft a while, near Huntersville.

I went back on the road as an erector for a number of years, and the company sent me to South America and Canada and wanted me to go to Mexico. I told the vice president to sign my severance paycheck. I said, “I just don't think I can work in Mexico.“

And he said, “Why?“

I said, “I was in San Diego, walked across the border during the war, and that was a filthy, dirty country, and I don't want to go down there.“ About a month later, he called me and he wrote that paycheck, pushed me out and pushed me into business and competition with him.

It wasn't long after that that we were married. My brother-in-law and I started a small business. I was on the road selling. I had contacts all over the South. I said Emma kept me alive. She was working for the government. She kept me alive till my sales began to come back. I did a big job for Fieldcrest Mills, $265,000 contract and my commission was 10 percent and I began to get money coming in.

EE:

Who did you work for, the government?

EL:

Small Business Administration.

EE:

Nice to have that connection. [chuckles]

EL:

That's right. [chuckles]

[Discussion of Eric Elliott's employment.]

EE:

One other thing that I wanted to ask you about that we sort of ask everybody—when you are doing something individually, everybody has a different individual experience. But you and 90,000 other women joined the military during the Second World War, plus Rosie the Riveters, Wanda the WAVES, all these women joined the work force doing things that heretofore were men's jobs. Some folks have looked back and said, you know, if you want to say when the women's liberation movement started, it started during the war.

EL:

Yes. They had to have the help.

EE:

Y'all weren't really changing careers. It was a temporary thing, but that was the first knock on the door that said, “Hey, we can do this.“ Do you feel that?

EL:

At least they recognized it when you had to do something.

EE:

And that probably changed your opinion of what you could do as far as your work?

EL:

Yes, but it did more than that. It changed the whole thing between men and women. Most men thought—

CL:

Kind of set the women becoming independent.

EE:

Wasn't quite as scary? I still get scared by it in my house all the time. [chuckles] I think once you're married long enough, you realize that men and women are interdependent.

EL:

Yes.

EE:

And you are not worried so much about who's in charge on a given moment so much as you're both working together as a team.

CL:

Well, that's the whole point. As I said, my success, I know when I was pushed out into the business I was in. Of course, I worked and studied while was working, but when my brother-in-law and I started this little business and I had contacts all over the South as an inspector, I traveled five states, twenty-five installations at one time. At one time I was constantly on the road. When we moved over here, her mother helped us buy this house. We talked about the business. She said, “Do you think we can make it?“ I said, “As long as I have two good hands and you're with me, we'll make it.“ And I can't complain about that.

EE:

Let me ask you one last thing about this with Patton. This was something that they came to you and said, “We'd like for you to go up to meet General Patton for a photo for the recruiting?“

EL:

Yes, They were recruiting. I don't know what kind. Somehow or another, I think they were looking for nurses. But I guess the nurses over there were busy enough.

EE:

You're a corporal? What was your rank when you—

CL:

T-5. Moved up to T-5—was three stripes, plus the T.

EE:

So you're throwing darts at Hitler here.

EL:

Right.

CL:

That's Marshall there. You were asking about the concept. George Marshall's picture was taken. He was the commanding general of all the forces at that time.

EE:

Was he there at Verdun?

EL:

I never saw him.

EE:

Who was the lead officer there at Verdun?

EL:

Well, it depended because, see, they had three different.

CL:

[Omar] Bradley.

EL:

Bradley was the commander.

EL:

Omar Bradley, 5th Armored Group. George Marshall was over everything.

EE:

Well, that's the end of my formal questions. What I'm going to do is after we finish the formal questions, I'm going leave this running so you can show me these pictures and I can get a sense better of what you have here.

Is there anything I haven't asked you about that you want to make sure I know about your military experience?

EL:

Can't think of anything. You know, you didn't have a lot of time to think about yourself, what you'd like to have.

EE:

Have you eaten powdered eggs since?

EL:

No, I haven't. [chuckles]

EE:

Nobody misses those green eggs.

EL:

But one time in the mess hall, I think I had just gotten there, and I've never eaten much, so I went through the mess line and I saw something green. And I said, “I'd like to have some of that.“ And he piled it up. I'd have never eaten it. I figured he was just being mean. So somebody reported it to one of the captains, a woman, and she came over and said, “You can't leave here until you clean your plate.“ And I said, “Well, I'll just have to stay here because my family never could get me to clean my plate.“ So she let me sit there for a while and then she said, “Well, you can go.“ [chuckles] And I still don't clean my plate all the time.

CL:

People think I'm starving her, but I try.

EE:

I know my mother-in-law is a bird eater. She'll kind of pick and then she's fine.

Well, transcriber, this will be the formal end of our interview. Thank you again.

[End of interview]